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M2Z's proposal for free wireless internet - Can you spell Neutrality?

A start-up called M2Z has asked the US government to give it a chunk of radio spectrum to give out free broadband wireless internet, which will be subsidized by advertising.

Personally, I shudder when people bring forth plans based on advertising revenues. Many are still recovering from the Internet Bubble burst although things seem to have evolved thanks to the Google phenomenon.

M2Z proposes to provide free internet access at 384Kbps, which is at the lowest end of what can be considered as Broadband. BT in Britain has come forward with a similar project although it has stopped short of asking for any kind of subsidy, opting for a partnership with the public sector instead.

M2Z says that it expects to spend on average $100m annually over the next decade to cover 95% of the US, which when put in perspective represents only $4 over the whole period.

So what’s the catch? The company wants to offer a 3MB/s wireless access for $30, out of which the US government is expected to earn $18 a year per user.

This is an interesting proposal but I wonder why the US government would buy into it. It would put broadband within the range of the poor and provide a fantastic opportunity for those who rarely go online to experience fast internet.

But at the same time, it would clash with the traditional telcos which have very, very powerful lobbyists in the White house.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.